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Serena’s Wedding Toast

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BY RACHEL

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I can’t tell you how excited I am about this wedding! Actually, I (like many of you here) may be able to claim the dubious honor of being excited about this wedding before it was for sure going to happen. Actually before there was a couple. Oh dear, possibly before I was technically friends with either party?

 

This is because this marriage has been a while in the making. I remember when I was just getting to know Serena freshman year at UD. Several of us were sitting in that cozy tea filled dorm room in Catherine Hall. I asked “So… you and Anthony…?” And of course she said… “Oh god, no! Why does everybody think that?!”

 

Well, part of why everybody thought that is because (I am pretty sure) that Anthony knew that. But he also knew the value of patience, but we will get back to that.

 

You frequently hear the phrase “Opposites attract.” And it is sometimes true. For instance, Anthony is capable of being ON TIME. However, I have also developed a theory from watching my friends fall in love: the most beautiful couples work because (even when they are radically different in superficial things) at a deeper level, God has blessed them both with one or two of the same gifts. A blessing so rare that only the other person can really appreciate the value of that virtue. There are two gifts I have seen running through every part of Anthony and Serena’s beautiful relationship.

 

Let’s start with the virtue of Patience. Anthony, here’s to you. From O’Hara before Freshman year (when, I’m guessing, you knew that this girl was the one?) to Mike Lococo’s 21st birthday party Junior year when y’all actually started dating for real is a long time to wait for a date. And you spent every minute of it being the best possible friend. Never pressuring, always caring for her. Amid the difficult times that came over those 2 years, you were a rock and the picture of true generous patience.

 

Serena, here’s to you. From the end of Senior year until this August is a LONG TIME of long-distance relationships, train schedules, bus schedules, and negotiating the rival demands of grad school, work and endless labs. And you managed it, quietly trying to adapt your plans so that when the time came, you would both be ready. That is patience the like of which I cannot even fathom.

 

The other virtue that both Anthony and Serena have in spades is care. I am not sure that is quite the right word. I want to call it present-ness too, but that isn’t exactly it either. Let me explain:

 

You may have noticed a tea theme in the room tonight? Maybe? Remember that beautiful tea and pillow-filled room I mentioned from Serena’s freshman year? Serena’s room is ALWAYS like that. When you come in with a problem, she has the gift of knowing that so many of the problems we face can actually be fixed by a cup of tea. Or (once she moved into an apartment with a kitchen) something delicious and artery clogging. Even when we didn’t have tea readily available on our Rome, Serena was blessed with the ability to be present and care, not in an abstract way, but in a solid way for those around her. I came to value this gift all the more when we moved to different states after college and I realized that my best friend’s caring and present-ness can miraculously extend across at least 1,425.8 miles. By the way, that is how far our houses have been apart for the past couple years. And it sucked.

And against all odds, Anthony has the same gift, though not in the same way. (Anthony, I am sorry, you will never be quite as awesome at tea-and-oxytocin as your wife… you might be able to give her a run for her money in the cooking delicious things department. )However, Anthony also takes care of people. I remember figuring this out on a trip to Cinque Terra with 16 BILLION people. Maybe it was only 10… but still. While most of us were fighting the urge to strangle each other, Anthony quietly took care of us. While most of us whined, were indecisive, snapped at each other, and generally made each other miserable, Anthony printed schedules, looked up maps, and figured out our actual options so that when the rest of us calmed down, we could make a choice. (Incidentally, this quality of taking care of people is what earned him the endless envy from his junior year roommates who called this type of behavior “Just being The Sig”. I am pretty sure Anthony has never met a problem he couldn’t eventually work out. From traveling to camping to Serena. Boy did we girls love him for that! And, MAN were those boys jealous!)

 

So, those are the qualities. Patience pretty obviously played into Anthony and Serena’s relationship. But actually I have to tell you a little more about how that “care-taking” gift that they share has become to me the emblem of a beautiful and equal relationship.

 

As some of you may know, UD has a Rome semester, which can be miraculous. What very few people will tell you is that the semester after our Rome semester is not exactly a walk in the park, and it certainly wasn’t for Serena and I. When you come back, having learned more about yourself than you thought possible or really… necessary, figuring out how to live a normal life in Irving can be difficult. I lived with Serena that semester, and what I remember most (aside from her perpetual snooze-button-routine every single morning) was Anthony. (Remember, this is before they were dating). Anthony was always there. Always ready to reorganize his schedule so that he could bring her food, or study with her, or sit with her, or just be normal with her when being normal was difficult. Anthony took care of her.

 

So much so that even knowing how gifted she is at caring for people, I wondered how she would ever be able to be as present to him. But she was! The December after they started dating, Anthony came down with what I can only describe as the plague. Technically it was just mono, but it was awful and (over-acheiver that he is) ANTHONY WOULD NOT JUST SLOW DOWN AND SLEEP. So he got worse and ended up dehydrated and sick in the hospital, and I got to see just how much Serena could take care of Anthony. Sitting in those waiting rooms, I was blown away by the lists of questions Serena had written down to ask the nurses and doctors. (Later she told me she got them from her wonderful mother). Every free moment she was at the hospital. She kept the most organized log of what and when Anthony ate, what he drank, which medicines he needed, etc. etc. When they got out of the hospital, she lovingly force-fed him every vitamin and homeopathic cure known to man until he went home to St. Louis. Serena took care of him.

 

I remember looking at them and thinking – as I have done on many occasions before and since – “So this is what a relationship looks like.” They have been an example to me. Not only of a good relationship, but of the virtues that make a good marriage possible.

 

So, without further ado, let me propose a toast: to Anthony and my best friend Serena. I can think of no better people to set out on this adventure, and no better virtues on which to build. Be patient with each other. Take care of each other. And thank you.  

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Awkward….

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BY RACHEL

Hi.

This is kind of awkward.

I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I just wanted to say that I missed you. And that I think about you often, but when I come right down to it, I don’t know what to say anymore. Not because I don’t have rings to say, just because I can’t seem to decide which to say first. Here is a list of things that I want to say or talk about.

1. Sorry for being a bad blogger.

2. Second year teaching is so much less stressful, but comes with a much less potent buzz. Which makes it oddly harder.

3. Theater is wonderful and crazy and crazy-making… and sometimes I wonder if it is good or bad for my soul to be involved. Because there are pretty powerful cases for both.

4. Serena got married and I gave a speech and stuff.

5. So, dating is a thing…?

6. Is dating non-Catholics a thing?

7. Why do I have such a profoundly hard time trusting God?

8. “Sure!” is a 4-letter word. Especially when followed by: “I don’t mind helping with that!”

9. I haven’t watched ANY movies. No really. None. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

10. I have succumbed to so many technological things. I have an iPhone. And a Snapchat. And I love them. My moral technophobia is losing all of its righteous fury. Is this a good thing?

All of these could be blogposts if I were more coherent. But right now they are just rants. I am almost to the point where I am going to start posting them. Let me know if any sound like they might be more interesting. And I will try to make the thoughts clearer on those before I just post.

 

MOVIE THOUGHTS: Romeo + Juliet

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BY RACHEL

Guess Who’s Back… back again… Rachel’s back. Tell your friends!

From this you should be able to tell several things:

1 I have been listening to too much Eminem…
2. SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!
3. I have started watching movies again.

Specifically Baz Luhrman-y things. My excuse is that my 9th and 10th graders finished out the year with two books (semi)recently adapted by Baz Luhrman into melodramatic and overblown, but (occasionally) well-acted misinterpretations: Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby.

I suppose I should get several things out of the way. I do not hate either of these movies. I don’t mind updating Shakespeare with modern settings and cut lines, so long as the themes remain intact. I like anachronistic soundtracks. I think Luhrman’s interpretation of Mercutio’s “Queen Mab” speech as a statement that Romeo’s type of love is a drug (pre-Ke$ha) is interesting. I think that Gatsby is spectacularly well-acted. I adore the complete lack of the shaky camera that keeps invading movies that I otherwise enjoy. I even kindof like the fact that Luhrman’s movies tend follow this sequence:

1. Cool-filtered and melancholic opening scene foreshadowing the DEPRESSING end of the story by having an angsty narrator look back on the events of the movie.
2. 20 MINUTES OF JUMPY-CUT-BUT-SMOOTH-CAMERA, PSYCHODELIC, FRENETIC, OVERBLOWN, AND ULTIMATELY POINTLESS PARTY SCENES!
3. Sudden shift to the sentimental love-story, marked by slow motion eye-contact and suddenly gentle soundtrack (R and J: Kissing You; Gatsby: Young and Beautiful).
4. Hour and a half of escalating sentimentality, which can only mean Doomed Love (Note the capitalization!)
5. Sad ending, endeavoring to leave the audience somber but not requiring any alteration in their actions, behavior, or lives.

(By the by, just a reminder, I am writing for people who have seen the movies and/or read the books. If you haven’t, either stop reading or prepare to be thoroughly spoiled. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!) This brings me to my actual problems with the movies.

MOVIE THOUGHTS: Romeo + Juliet

At first I was going to write one monster post on both of these, after all: both movies are by Baz Luhrman, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, underscored by interesting/poppy soundtracks and guilty of parallel misinterpretations! However, I found I had too many thoughts. Sorry!

Let’s get the ball rolling: ROMEO AND JULIET IS A TRAGEDY! Not just because the main characters die. Tragedy is NOT EQUAL to sad. Tragedy is a single unified drama in which we are invited to consider the nature of human character and fate by witnessing the fall of a noble character because of a fundamental ignorance which leads to a transgression act. It is sad, but the goal of the story is not just to have all of the sad feels. We, as an audience, are to purge ourselves of the toxic emotions in order to better consider the moral implications of our choices.

The great danger, to which most modern interpretations of Romeo and Juliet have fallen prey, is taking this as Shakespeare prefiguring Nicholas Sparks.

 i.e. He wrote about “perfect” but depressing love between teenagers whose story ends in death but only because of the general badness of the world (be that badness cancer, mean people, Alzheimers, or feuding parents.)

i.e. He wrote about “perfect” but depressing love between teenagers whose story ends in death but only because of the general badness of the world (be that badness cancer, mean people, Alzheimers, or feuding parents.)

Pardon my french in advance: This is a load of horse shit. Let Shakespeare be the new Sophocles or Aeschylus. LET HIM NEVER BE BLASPHEMED AS THE OLD NICHOLAS SPARKS! Alright, I am calming down. But seriously folks, we must not think of Romeo and Juliet this way. Not to contradict Taylor Swift, but this is NOT a Love Story.

To explain this, I am going to start at the very end. A very weird place to start.

In Shakespeare’s version, we do not have the return of a chorus to tell us the social significance of the play or how we ought to feel. The final lines of the play are the Prince, the civil authority, saying:

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun for sorrow will not show his head:
Go hence and have more talk of these things;
Some shall be pardoned, some punished:
For never was a tale of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

This closing is a command: Go. Think. Talk. Judge. We are asked not simply to say “Gee, that was really sad,” but rather to consider who deserves pity or scorn (pardon or punishment) for the horror at the end of this play. Moreover,  we are pushed to consider the degree to which they deserve pity or scorn. Sorrow is not the object of this lesson; it is the means by which we are pushed to judge – not only the choices of the characters but our own.

That’s Shakespeare.

You fabulous genius, you!

You fabulous genius, you!

Then there is Baz Luhrman.

Tragedy.... I do not think that means what you think it means...

Tragedy…. I do not think that means what you think it means…

Superficially,  we might say that the ending of the movie is the same. Except it isn’t. And if you have read the book, YOU SHOULD NOT STOP THINKING AT LUHRMAN’S INTERPRETATION. GO. TALK. THINK. JUDGE.

So. What is different?

1. Paris doesn’t die. Specifically Romeo does not commit that much less pardonable murder. We’ll come back to that.
2. The Prince has the penultimate, not the final, line. And it is changed. Instead, he screams into the camera:

“ALL ARE PUNISHED! ALL ARE PUNISHED!”

3. The actual last two lines are delivered by the televised talking head who serves as Luhrman’s chorus.

What effect is brought about by these TINY alterations? 

1. Romeo (and Juliet) are more pitiable. I will come back to that.
2. The civil authority does not judge each according to their actions, rather ALL are punished. Consequently, we as the audience have no homework. The characters have been weighed and EVERY single one of those still living has been found wanting. Case closed.
3. The chorus (who first gives us the idea of the “star crossed lovers” … I.e the poor but idealized teenagers whose “perfect love” was just RUINED by fate and their families) has the last words. And those words are…

“Be sad.”

BE SAD!

This is the problem with Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet. He takes away the moral power of a tragedy by presuming the goal of a tragedy is simply sorrow, when in fact, the goal of a tragedy with all of it’s dramatic irony, emotion, transgression, failing, (and yes, even sadness) – is to MAKE US ABLE TO SEE RIGHTLY AND MORALLY.

So, because you are all super nice (if you have read this far) I am going to list (hopefully quickly) my observations as to the actual moral problem presented by Shakespeare.

The transgressions in Romeo and Juliet can be condensed into the failure of understanding the role and responsibilities of vocations.


Vocational Duties in R+J and how they are ABANDONED!

1. Civil/ Political Vocation

THE PRINCE

THE PRINCE

The Prince, as civil authority,  should have stopped and seriously punished this feuding long before this point. Failure to punish and protect is failure indeed. His vocation calls him to the care of his city and its citizens. Because he fails in his civil vocation, there is a vacuum. Someone must restore civil order, presenting an occasion of sin for Friar Laurence.

2. Religious Vocation

FRIAR LAURENCE

FRIAR LAURENCE

Friar Laurence is a priest, specifically he serves as confessor and pastor to the entire town of Verona. His vocation is the care of souls. Yet, because of the “civil strife making civil hands unclean” he abandons this responsibility, starting with his very first scene.

After meeting Juliet, in Act III, Romeo comes tearing into Friar Laurence’s cell gushing about this NEW perfect beloved – Juliet. (This entire act, by the way is Shakespeare calling attention to the fact that Romeo is falling so fast that everyone he meets spends the first have of the interaction assuming that he is gushing about his former infatuation, Rosaline.) Friar Laurence at first says EXACTLY what he ought to. He instructs Romeo in the correct ordering of affections, the fact that his love for both Rosaline and Juliet are mere idolatrous imitations of love. He counsels and counsels well.

Then, he says the following fateful lines:

But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove,
To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.

On the face of this, it is easy to see the good in this. Friar Laurence will use Romeo and Juliet’s loving infatuation to form an alliance between these two warring families and restore peace to Verona.

Did it bother anyone that I just said a priest is going to use (coughSTUPIDcough) teenage infatuation rather than reorder and heal it?

It is a PROBLEM that a Friar is setting aside his vocation to the pastoral care of soul. This failure and abandonment is made more concrete in the last act when Friar Laurence (for fear of the fast approaching civil authorities) abandons a drugged, distraught Juliet in a tomb, pinned down by the corpse of her husband.  To some degree, the blood  and soul of this child is on his hands.

3. Parental Vocation

THE NURSE

THE NURSE

He is not alone in his act of abandonment. All of the parental figures of this play similarly abandon – morally and/or physically. Their vocation to the care and guidance of children, protecting and restraining when necessary.

First, Juliet’s Nurse, in her hurry to approve of everyone, encourages Juliet not only to imprudence, but even to bigamy. She calls everyone she meets “good and wise and virtuous.” Again, this is not in and of itself a problem. After all, isn’t it good to see the best in people?

Except that her want of right judgment deprives Juliet, a 13-year-old girl, of any guidance. Much as we may want all choices to be equal and equally good and wise and virtuous, they are not. In failing to guide Juliet, she essentially morally abandons her.

Second, Juliet’s parents do more than essentially abandon her. They actually do it. When she is reluctant to marry Paris (because she is already married.) Her father vows that he will give her to his friend or cast her out into what ever form of harlotry she wishes. Her mother then refuses to even speak to her.

While I am not saying that Juliet is purely innocent of her suicide, I will say that Shakeapre makes an awfully big deal about how young she is – even for “the olden days.” She is still clearly in need of love, protection, and judicious guidance. This is what parents and guardians are CALLED to provide. She receives none. 

4. Marital Vocation.

ROMEO AND JULIET

ROMEO AND JULIET

This brings me back to my initial point. Romeo and Juliet is not a Love Story. It is an Idolatry Story.  By idolizing one another, Romeo and Juliet fail in the vocation of marriage — the care of the soul of the beloved .

Marriage is not eternal. It has a finish line: Till death do us part. This should not be a sad statement. The point of marriage is not the forever fluffy feelings. Marriage is the vow (of man, wife, and God ) that you will push, pull, and carry your beloved to the perfection and completion of Love Himself in heaven. Marriage is not necessary in heaven.

In the romance of these two children, Shakespeare provides a reminder that our world needs more than ever, showing what this idolatrous erotic love looks like from origin to symptom to inevitable result.

How does it happen?
Juliet falls into idolatry (as teenager girls are wont to do) for the lack of protection. Romeo, on the other hand, arrives at idolatry by refusing wise counsel.

In short, the problem with idolatry is that it makes the universe too small. Instead of a universe created by and governed by an infinite and eternal Love, idolatry limits the world to whatever can be governed by something smaller.

Making an idol of another person begins with limiting our vision of reality and ignoring any signs or counsel that calls to and indicates a higher and wider world.

What does it look like?
Idolatry, because of the blinders it requires, looks like infatuation. It is the exact “us agains the world” mentality. Because of this, I would argue that the only thing that comes close to the religious wars our world has witnessed is the emotional war between a besotted teenager and his or her parent. This is because this love is not rightly ordered. It is not leading toward God and eventually family.

Where does it end?
In suicide. Heaven is abiding in the complete presence of and union with God. If Juliet is god, then Verona (specifically marriage to Juliet in Verona) is heaven. Hell is irrevocable separation from God. If Romeo is banished from the presence of his god, Juliet, then he is in hell.

In making a mortal person into God, suicide is the only logical conclusion. If you are already in hell, why should death and subsequent separation from a God in whom you do not actively believe make any difference?

Ok. That was really long. SORRY!

Basically, here is what I got. Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet is dangerous, not because he is willfully leading children astray into idolatrous and unhealthy loves. However, this movie is guilty of the very same transgression as the adults in Shakespeare’s play: a failure to care for the formation of the loves and souls of the young. Similarly, under the supposed guidance of this, more children are guilty of confusing idolatry with love. (TWILIGHT. TAYLOR SWIFT. ETC. ETC. ETC.)

On my Sister’s Engagement

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Hello everyone! My name is Teresa. I’m Selina’s older sister and Matron of Honor. First, I just want to say how happy I am that we have all just witnessed this truly beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony between Selina and Andrew. And I have just one thing to say about it… FINALLY.

In all seriousness, though, this has been a long journey.  Selina was saying that as of yesterday, she and Andrew had been engaged for seventeen months.  Now, I know that they didn’t necessarily plan their engagement this way, and it’s been difficult for them to wait so long to finally be married.  But I just want to say that it has been one of the most beautiful engagements I’ve ever witnessed.

I was blessed enough to move home just a couple months before Selina and Andrew were engaged, so I was able to be there—and to be with Selina—for much more of it than I would have otherwise. As Selina’s older sister, I can say that she and Andrew both have grown so much these past seventeen months, and I want to tell you all about a few of the virtues that I’ve witnessed in their engagement—that I know now are going to be hallmarks of an amazing marriage.

I think the first big challenge in Selina and Andrew’s engagement came the spring after Andrew proposed, when they decided it would be best for Andrew to take an opportunity to work and teach with a school in Urbil, Iraq.  I remember Selina coming into my room shortly after they’d made the decision, and she was just crying.  At first I thought she was crying because it would be so hard for her to be away from Andrew.  But in fact, Selina was crying from joy! Because she was grateful for the opportunity, because she was grateful for Andrew’s courage in taking the position, and because she was filled with an unexpected peace that they would emerge from that challenge all the stronger.

It was beautiful to see Selina’s faith in that moment—faith in God, in Andrew, and in their relationship.  In that moment, my little sister’s maturity and self-sacrifice amazed me.

And then, as you all know, Andrew was accepted into Officer Candidate School midway through his time in Iraq.  And he and Selina made another difficult decision: for him to come back, go to Rhode Island, and commit to the U.S. Navy. One of the biggest challenges that came with that decision was that the timing of this whole wedding was thrown into complete turmoil.  As was mentioned last night at the rehearsal dinner several times, both Selina and Andrew are planners. Andrew’s being in the US Navy made it really difficult for them to begin to plan either this wedding or the rest of their lives together.

But again, I witnessed Selina rise to the occasion with so much sweetness and grace.  You all should have seen her in the months leading up to this day. Her concern with the material details of planning a wedding sort of fell away, and she told me, “I don’t care.  I just want to be married.” I admire so much Selina’s ability, amidst the stress of planning a wedding (not to mention being IN SCHOOL), to focus on what really matters. Because your marriage is your vocation.  It is THE MOST important thing that God has put in either of your lives.  Everything else is secondary. And you have both shown that you understand that.

Andrew, I am so happy to welcome you into our family.  Because I see these things about Selina—that she is selfless and faithful and sweet and gracious—but I think you see them even more.  You see that you are the luckiest man in the world, because you could not ask for a better wife.

And Andrew, I want to tell you one more thing that I think you know: Selina is so proud of you. She is so proud, that I am sometimes embarrassed to take her out in public because I know as soon as I turn my back she’ll start talking to a complete stranger about you and your accomplishments, and this day, the day she gets to be married to you.  You deserve that pride she has in you.

This has been a long journey for you both.  But you have shown that you have faith in God, you have faith in each other, you can roll with the punches and you can come up with the knowledge of what is most important in life.  You are going to have an exceptional marriage, and I could not be more proud.

Congratulations Selina and Andrew.  Many blessings for a beautiful marriage and life together.  I love you.

Dear Rachel, APRIL FOOLS! Sincerely, The Universe.

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By Rachel

I feel the need to explain, all of the following occurred today. Before noon.

  1. After vacuuming, I was (very maturely) emptying the dust off my porch when a gust of wind blew the lovely ALLERGEN FILLED DUST directly back into my left eye.

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3.) Needless to say, the eye promptly turned red and the lid swelled almost shut.Image

(Like this only way less cute and way more swollen… but I did totally make this face.)

4.) Undeterred by this failed attempt at adulthood, I continued to clean my apartment. I even cut my expired drivers license in half, threw it out, and took the bag down to the dumpster.

5.) When I returned to organize my wallet , I suddenly realized that I had in fact thrown away my VALID license.

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6.) I ran down to to the dumpster. Which had already been emptied.

angry-no

7. ) Again, VERY MATURELY, I rushed (carefully) to the DMV to get a replacement license before I had to leave town at 2:30 for the next 3 days.

GC qm DN15-DMV-DC

8. ) After waiting an hour and a half, I got a new license! Unfortuately, in order to do so, the DMV lady insisted that I replace my perfectly passable ID picture with a NEW ID picture.

WITHOUT: makeup, clean hair, clean face, smile, soul, etc.

WITH: (the lovely accessories every girl needs) one swollen pink eye, 3 large pimples, and one particularly surly expression.

(IMAGE WITHELD FOR VIEWER’S SANITY. You might find it too funny. Or terrible. I’m not sure.)

 

9.) As I signed the temporary document, I realized what today’s date was….

APRIL. FREAKING. FOOLS. 

I could choose to think that this all occurred because the universe hates me. Instead, I choose to believe that the Universe finds my attempts at adulthood FREAKING HILARIOUS.

Well played, Universe. Well played.

Happy Easter (in a limestone landscape)

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Obviously, it’s been a while. Again.

I meant to post a lot through Lent. Mostly about how much I suck at lent. And apparently at blogging consistently. 

That apparently did not happen. Still this is the Resurrection Day! So I will keep it short:

This is the last chunk of my favorite poem (of all time) by W.H.Auden.

“In Praise of Limestone”

They were right, my dear, all those voices were right 
And still are; this land is not the sweet home that it looks, 
Nor its peace the historical calm of a site 
Where something was settled once and for all: A back ward 
And dilapidated province, connected 
To the big busy world by a tunnel, with a certain 
Seedy appeal, is that all it is now? Not quite: 
It has a worldy duty which in spite of itself 
It does not neglect, but calls into question 
All the Great Powers assume; it disturbs our rights. The poet, 
Admired for his earnest habit of calling 
The sun the sun, his mind Puzzle, is made uneasy 
By these marble statues which so obviously doubt 
His antimythological myth; and these gamins, 
Pursuing the scientist down the tiled colonnade 
With such lively offers, rebuke his concern for Nature’s 
Remotest aspects: I, too, am reproached, for what 
And how much you know. Not to lose time, not to get caught, 
Not to be left behind, not, please! to resemble 
The beasts who repeat themselves, or a thing like water 
Or stone whose conduct can be predicted, these 
Are our common prayer, whose greatest comfort is music 
Which can be made anywhere, is invisible, 
And does not smell. In so far as we have to look forward 
To death as a fact, no doubt we are right: But if 
Sins can be forgiven, if bodies rise from the dead, 
These modifications of matter into 
Innocent athletes and gesticulating fountains, 
Made solely for pleasure, make a further point: 
The blessed will not care what angle they are regarded from, 
Having nothing to hide. Dear, I know nothing of 
Either, but when I try to imagine a faultless love 
Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur 
Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape.

 

HAPPY EASTER, Y’ALL!  (If you want, I can explain why this is the quintessential Easter poem to me, but for now, I will let Auden and Our Risen Lord speak for themselves.)

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!” (Lk 24:5-6)